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Saudi Arabia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Supporting digital technologies is a key component of Saudi Arabia's future strategy

Saudi Arabia entered 2018 on a positive note with the government announcement of its largest financial budget ever which will support the country's expansion and diversification plans as part of its Vision 2030 program. Generally speaking; the strategy will implement changes relating to improving the kingdom's economy through increases in taxes and fuel prices as well as encouraging investment and diversification away from its reliance on oil. It will also support the use of digital technologies for such uses as cloud computing and e-commerce as well as encouraging ICT development, including investments in broadband infrastructure.

Broadband is widely available in Saudi Arabia via DSL, fibre, and wireless. In 2018 DSL subscriptions still account for the largest proportion of fixed broadband subscriptions but are now in decline as consumers switch to mobile broadband or FttH/FttP services.

Internet penetration in Saudi Arabia has reached around 80%, well above the average for the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is committed to providing Internet services to its deprived rural areas and a special Universal Services project was established around ten years ago. The program is now over three quarters completed with thousands of localities provided access where it was not considered commercially viable for operators to do so.

The mobile operators have faced recent changes and challenges with the introduction of the biometric fingerprint law which saw subscriber numbers drop, as well as a shift away from pre-paid accounts.

A major competitive shake-up for the Saudi telecoms sector began in late 2016 when the Saudi government announced plans to award unified licenses to Zain Saudi Arabia and Mobily, which would allow the operators to offer fixed line telephony and Internet services. In the past only STC was permitted to do so. In 2018 Go Telecom's request for the unified license was rejected however.

Further increasing competition in the mobile market was the recent lifting of OTT VoIP and messaging services bans, allowing providers such as Skype, Viber, Whatsapp and so forth to begin operations again.

This valuable report provides analyses, information, industry statistics and insights in the major players in Saudi Arabia's telecoms sector.

Recent developments:

Competition in the fixed market may increase with Universal Licenses having been awarded to some secondary mobile operators.

In September 2017 the CITC lifted its ban on OTT VoIP and messaging applications.

The finger-printing regulation for all mobile subscribers impacted upon the mobile sector in terms of both subscribers and revenue.

Saudi Arabia is implementing strategies as part of its goals outlined for its 2020 National Transformation Plan as well as the Vision 2030 program.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Bravo, Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)/Bayn Consortium, GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb, Mobily/Ettihad Etisalat/Bayanat Al-Oula, Zain KSA, Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, Arabsat.


Table Of Content


1. Executive summary

2. Key statistics

2.1 Country overview

3. Telecommunications market

3.1 Market overview

3.2 Market analysis

3.2.1 Universal Licenses

3.2.2 Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030

3.3 Summary of key developments

4. Regulatory environment

4.1 Historic overview

4.2 Regulatory authority

4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation

4.4 Data service provider licences

4.5 Fixed-line licences

4.6 New satellite broadband license

4.7 Interconnect and access

4.8 Number Portability (NP)

4.9 Universal service

5. Fixed network operators in Saudi Arabia

5.1 Saudi Telecom Company (STC)

5.2 Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)

5.3 GO Telecom (Etihad Atheeb)

6. Telecommunications infrastructure

6.1 Overview of the national telecom network

6.1.1 Alternative operators' infrastructure

6.2 International infrastructure (satellite, submarine)

6.2.1 Terrestrial cable networks

6.2.2 Submarine cable networks

6.2.3 Satellite networks

6.3 Specific IT developments (data centres, cloud computing)

7. Smart infrastructure

7.1 M2M/IoT/Big Data

7.2 Smart grids

7.3 Smart cities

8. Broadband access market

8.1 Introduction and statistical overview

8.2 Internet access

8.3 Censorship

8.4 Broadband statistics

8.5 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks

8.6 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)

8.6.1 STC

8.6.2 GO Telecom

8.6.3 Mobily

8.7 Other fixed broadband services

8.7.1 WiFi

9. Digital economy

9.1 M-banking

9.2 e-Health

9.3 Videostreaming

10. Mobile communications

10.1 Market overview

10.2 Market analysis

10.3 Mobile statistics

10.3.1 General statistics

10.3.2 Mobile voice

10.3.3 Mobile data

10.4 Mobile broadband statistics

10.5 Regulatory issues

10.5.1 Award of second GSM mobile licence

10.5.2 iDEN contract awarded

10.5.3 Award of Third Generation (3G) licences

10.5.4 Award of third mobile licence

10.5.5 Mobile license extensions 2016

10.5.6 Roaming

10.5.7 MTRs

10.5.8 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)

10.5.9 Fingerprinting law

10.6 Mobile infrastructure

10.6.1 GSM, 3G

10.6.2 LTE, LTE-A

10.6.3 Satellite mobile

10.6.4 5G

10.7 IoT and M2M networks

11. Major mobile operators

11.1 Saudi Telecom Company (STC)

11.2 Mobily (Etihad Etisalat)

11.3 Zain KSA

11.4 Mobile handsets

12. Related reports

Exhibit 2 Historical Bravo

List Of Figure

Chart 1 Major mobile operators market share 2017 (Q1)

List Of Table

Table 1 Country statistics Saudi Arabia-2018

Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2018

Table 3 Broadband statistics 2018

Table 4 Mobile statistics 2018

Table 5 National telecommunications authorities

Table 6 Saudi Arabia GDP and inflation 2012-2018

Table 7 Saudi Arabia mobile, fixed-line and total telecoms revenue of service providers 2001-2016

Table 8 Fixed telephone teledensity and mobile subscriber penetration 2012 1H 2018

Table 9 STC Group revenue and profit 2005 1H 2018

Table 10 Fixed telephone teledensity 2012 1H 2018

Table 11 Fixed lines in service-1995 1H 2018

Table 12 International Internet bandwidth 2010-2016

Table 13 Internet users and user penetration 2005 2017

Table 14 Fixed broadband subscriptions technologies and penetration 2010 1H 2018

Table 15 Saudi Arabia household PC penetration 2002-2017

Table 16-Historic-Mobile subscribers and penetration rate-1995-2004

Table 17-Mobile subscribers and penetration 2007 1H 2018

Table 18 Major mobile operators' subscribers and market shares 2005 Q1 2017

Table 19 Saudi Arabia prepaid subscribers 2002 1H 2018

Table 20 Mobile broadband subscriptions technologies and penetration 2010 1H 2018

Table 21 Mobily revenue and mobile subscribers 2006 9M 2017

Table 22 Zain KSA mobile subscribers and revenue 2015 9M 2017

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paul budde communication, buddecomm, telecomunications research, country profile, Broadband Fixed, Broadcasting, Companies (Major Players), Digital Economy, Digital Media, Internet, Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media, Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure), Regulations & Government Policies, Smart Infrastructure, Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets), Telecoms Infrastructure, Saudi Arabia, The Middle East


Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Bravo, Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)/Bayn Consortium, GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb, Mobily/Ettihad Etisalat/Bayanat Al-Oula, Zain KSA, Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, Arabsat.